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Stop Guessing, Start Measuring: 20 Key Video Metrics and How to Improve Them

Video metrics and video KPIs are the North Star that should guide your entire video strategy. Discover the full breadth of video KPIs out there, including what platforms they're available on, and start building a more effective video content plan.

We all know video is becoming more critical than ever to virtually every company’s marketing strategy. After all, 82% of total global internet traffic in 2022 came from video, making it the dominant medium of choice for sharing inspiration, ideas, and sales pitches, no matter the industry or audience

But simply pumping out videos - no matter how creative - is a recipe for failure if you’re not also tracking their performance. 

In this helpful guide we’ll walk you through the diverse range of video content KPIs and video success metrics you can consider when evaluating the performance of your video content. 

Pro tip: Your metrics can and should come from more than one source. Take your best video content and make it interactive for free with Ghost. Our new metrics dashboard shows you exactly how many people are watching your videos, and which ones are actually driving results that matter.

What are video content KPIs and why is it important to measure them?

Ah, the intriguing world of KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. If you're just dipping your toes into video marketing, you've probably heard this term being thrown around like confetti at a New Year's Eve party. But what exactly are video content KPIs and why should you even care? Let's cut through the jargon and get to the heart of the matter.

The ABCs of KPIs

In the simplest terms, KPIs are metrics that help you understand how well your video content is performing. It's like a report card for your videos, but instead of grades, you're looking at data points like views, click-through rates, engagement, and yes, even sales conversions if you're using interactive tools like Ghost’s shoppable video solution.

Why Measure, Anyway?

Picture this: You’ve spent hours crafting what you think is the perfect video. It’s snazzy, it’s high-quality, and heck, it’s even funny. You publish it, and then... crickets. Now what? 

This is where KPIs come in. They give you the insights needed to answer questions like:

  • Is my video reaching its intended audience?
  • Are viewers engaged or do they drop off after the first few seconds?
  • Is my video driving the actions I want, like clicks or purchases?

Without KPIs, you're essentially flying blind, making it hard to know what’s working and what needs a rethink. 

Taking Action on Insights

Once you've gathered your data from video analytics tools, what do you do with it? You optimize! Make data-driven changes based on what you've learned. For instance, if you see that engagement drops off after the first 10 seconds, consider re-editing your video's intro to make it more captivating.

So there you have it—the lowdown on video content KPIs and why they're your secret weapon in the world of video marketing. Remember, a video without metrics is like a ship without a compass. Sure, it might float, but good luck navigating to success. 

Top 20 video metrics to measure

Now that you know why video metrics are critical, let’s get into what exactly you can (and should!) measure with your videos. 

Something to consider: Where you post your videos will greatly impact the KPIs you can measure. We’ve made a note for each KPI to help identify what platforms you can expect (barring any major changes) to be able to gather this insight. 

In general, you should cross-post videos to multiple platforms to maximum reach and visibility. But be mindful of tailoring your videos to the audience and platform in question. 

For example, TikTok videos commonly pick up on specific trend waves - like using the built-in voiceover tool or certain graphic overlays; effects that may not play as well on other platforms, especially for users who aren’t on TikTok. 

Also! Don’t forget about posting to your own website. You’ll get a new layer of insights by comparing site data with video data - even moreso if you make your videos shoppable or interactive with Ghost. 

Ghost’s interactive video dashboard includes all the key metrics you could ever want to dig deep into your on-site video performance, on a video-by-video basis, as well as across your entire video collection. And every metric can be a helpful part of unlocking your overall video strategy puzzle. 

With that in mind, let’s talk about key video metrics you should be measuring!

View count or Play count 

This is the most fundamental video metric around: How many people watched your video. Of course, keep in mind that video view quantity doesn’t always equal quality. 5,000 viewers that take action on a video are way more valuable than 500,000 viewers that simply watch and move on. 

Where to find it: Ghost, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Vimeo 

Engagement

Video engagement refers to any action a viewer takes while or after watching your video. This could include likes, comments, shares, or any other form of interaction that indicates your audience is, well, engaged!

Where to find it: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Vimeo

Play rate

Play rate is the percentage of people who played your video divided by the number who saw the video thumbnail. It's a useful metric to understand how enticing your video is at first glance.

Where to find it: YouTube, Vimeo

Watch time

Watch time, or average view duration, indicates the total number of minutes that viewers have spent watching a single video. 

Where to find it: YouTube, Facebook (as 'Average Watch Time')

Total play time

The cumulative amount of time people have spent watching all of your content over a given time period. High playtime indicates your content is resonating as a whole, or more people are engaging with your content. 

Where to find it: Ghost

Finish rate

Finish rate is the percentage of viewers who completed your video. This can give you an idea of how compelling your content is from start to finish.

Where to find it: Vimeo, YouTube (as 'Audience Retention’)

Social shares

Social shares refer to the number of times your video has been shared on social media platforms. It's a good indicator of how shareable and engaging your content is.

Where to find it: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo

Clicks and click-through rates

Clicks measure how many times a call-to-action or other clickable element in your video has been clicked. CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions, giving you an idea of how effective your call-to-action is. Note that with Ghost, you can also track which CTAs got the most clicks in a single video.

Where to find it: Ghost, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram (as 'Tap Through Rate'), Facebook

Conversions

Conversions refer to the number of times a viewer takes a specific action you've defined after watching your video, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Where to find it: Primarily tracked through your own analytics or e-commerce tools, though platforms like YouTube and Facebook offer some conversion tracking capabilities.

Follower / subscriber growth

This metric shows the number of new followers or subscribers gained as a result of your video content. It's a good indicator of the long-term value your content brings to your audience.

Where to find it: YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook

Impressions

Impressions are the number of times your video thumbnail is shown to someone on the platform, regardless of whether it was clicked. Impressions can suggest virality on certain platforms, but it’s more often used to understand what percentage of your impressions are converting into clicks / views. 

Where to find it: Ghost, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok

Rewatches

Rewatches indicate the number of times a user has watched your video more than once, suggesting that your content has a strong replay value.

Where to find it: Not commonly reported but can be analyzed through YouTube and Vimeo's advanced analytics.

Unique views

Unique views count the number of individual users who have watched your video, as opposed to total views, which could include multiple views by the same user.

Where to find it: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook (as 'Unique Viewers')

Bounce rate

The percentage of viewers who navigate away from the video after only briefly viewing it. A high bounce rate might indicate that your intro or content didn't meet viewer expectations.

Where to find it: Primarily website analytics like Google Analytics, not commonly reported on social video platforms.

Cost Per View (CPV)

If you're running paid video ads, CPV tells you the average cost you pay every time someone views your video ad. It's crucial for evaluating ROI.

Where to find it: Advertising platforms associated with YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Traffic source

This metric shows where your viewers are coming from, whether it's a direct link, a social media share, or a search query.

Where to find it: YouTube video metrics, Vimeo, and through website analytics if you host your video on your own site.

Video shares to views ratio

This ratio will tell you how many views it takes, on average, to generate a share, helping you understand the virality of your content.

Where to find it: You'd need to calculate this yourself using the share and view count metrics from platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Heatmaps

A visual representation of where viewers have clicked, touched, or hovered on your video. This can reveal which parts of the video are most engaging or confusing.

Where to find it: Advanced analytics tools and some premium Vimeo plans offer this feature.

Time watched per session

Definition: This measures the total amount of time a user spends watching videos on your channel or page during a single session.

Where to find it: YouTube Analytics, Facebook Insights for longer sessions.

Live video viewers

This one is another specialty metric, referring to livestream or live video events. If you're posting a live video, you'll want to keep an eye on how many viewers actually attend your event in real time.

Where to find it: Live video and livestream platforms (including Ghost).

How to improve your core video metrics and video KPIs

For all of these video performance metrics, there’s an easy way to tell whether your content doing well or not. The next question is - what can you do about it? 

Keep reading to find out what each metric is telling you - and how to improve it and boost your overall video content marketing strategy. 

View count or Play count 

High view counts means lots of eyeballs are getting onto your video. But not all views are created equal. Look at your view count in tandem with things like engagement or conversions to identify the quality of your views.

The easiest way to boost view count is to post your video in more places, encourage others to share it for you, or work to get more followers and traffic to your video content.

Engagement

Engagement tells you whether people find your content worth passing along. While it’s important for virality (and validity!) note that engagement on its own isn’t worth nearly as much as conversions. 

There’s not much you can do to boost engagement on a single video, other than encourage followers to share it. Instead, you should pay attention to what types of content garner more engagement, and double down on that - your audience is sending a loud and clear signal about what they value. 

Play rate

Want to know if your thumbnail or video title are working? Pay attention to the play rate. If it’s on the lower side, recalibrate your thumbnail and title to try and attract more viewers. 

Watch time

Minutes of views add up, as this helpful metric indicates. Low watch times indicate your video is failing to engage people for very long.

Total playtime

Like we mentioned, high playtime indicates people are happy to engage with lots of video content from your brand. In general this number should always go up as your business grows (and people come more attuned to your video content), but if you see a dip, considering switching up the content in your video collections. 

Finish rate

Are people watching your video all the way through? That’s what this metric tells you. If they aren’t, it means you may want to re-edit and find a way to keep people tuned in till the end. 

Social shares

You can view social shares as a sub-category of engagement; if people find your content shareable, they’re engaged. If they’re not sharing, well, back to the drawing board for more salient content. 

Clicks and click-through rates

Arguably, this is the most important metric of them all. You can get all the eyeballs and engagement in the world, but if your video isn’t compelling people to act - if that’s your goal of course - then it’s falling flat. Not seeing the clicks you want? Re-edit to make the CTA more of a focal point, or more enticing, period. 

Conversions

Similar to clicks, if people aren’t taking the action you want after they’ve clicked on the video, there might be some conversion optimization to do on your webpages. But another consideration might be to ensure the video offers enticement to go and convert. 

Follower / subscriber growth

This number should always be moving up and to the right - if your content is great, people will want to subscribe to catch it all. If it’s not, rethink your content strategy based on what’s working.

Impressions

You can think of impressions in two ways - both of which can provide some valuable insight. One, just how many people have the opportunity to view your videos. And two, on social platforms, it can signal virality. If your impression count is low, you can always sponsor a video on some platforms, or simply aim to build more virality by encouraging shares, likes, and other engagement. 

Rewatches

A rewatch equals a repeat viewer - and repeat views often equal conversions or action. Note that many videos aren’t going to need to be rewatchable, but evergreen content often should! To use an example, an explainer video likely only needs to be watched once, if you're doing your job right. A product demo videos or tutorial videos, however, might be worthy of multiple watches if practice makes perfect.  

If your core content isn’t getting much rewatches and you expect it, try an A/B test with a different version. 

Unique views

The more unique views you’re getting, the more diverse and broad your reach and overall viewer engagement. Boosting unique views typically comes organically with boosting overall impressions and view counts.

Bounce rate

High bounce rate? Repackage your video by rethinking the thumbnail, title, or description so you’re meeting viewers’ expectations. 

Cost Per View (CPV)

In terms of video marketing metrics, ideally you want CPV to be as low as possible. If not, rethink your ad buy strategy and audience.

Traffic source

There’s not much of an indicator here as to whether your video is doing ‘well’ or not, but it should tell you which channels you’re having the best success with. Identify those platforms or channels and spend time creating content specific to that audience / platform.

Video shares to views ratio

The lower this number, the better - for example, 2:1 shares to views says that for every two viewers, 50% of them will share it. That’s an incredibly lofty goal, however. If you want to increase your ratio here, encourage sharing right inside the video. 

Heatmaps

Your heatmaps are basically a guide to what specific moments or elements of your video are clicking. Use them as a guide to improve your existing video content or future videos. 

Time watched per session

Similar to total playtime (with Ghost), the more time people watch your content in a single session, the more your content is resonating. You can improve this by producing more content on related topics and serving up like videos together (like with Ghost’s shoppable video collections). 

Live video viewers

Want more attendees? Check out our webinar on livestreaming secrets from industry titans and boost your ROI with every livestream even.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the essential video metrics you should be tracking to elevate your video marketing game - and the ways to do it! Knowing these KPIs is like having a crystal ball; they help you peer into viewer behavior, evaluate the ROI of your video content, and strategize for future success. Whether you're a video newbie or a seasoned pro, these metrics are the building blocks of any effective video marketing strategy.

But wait, there's more. If you're using Ghost's free shoppable video tool on your website, don't forget to check out our robust analytics dashboard. It's a treasure trove of data designed to help you identify how your videos are performing directly on your site. This insight is crucial for informing your next video content and even guiding where that content should live on your website—be it specific pages or as part of different video collections. 

So go ahead, arm yourself with these metrics and our analytics dashboard, and become the video marketing wizard you were always meant to be. Let's make those videos work as hard as you do!

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